A Maryland middle school principal apologized to families for failing to notift them about a substitute teacher accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old student at the school, the Washington Post reported.
Khadija Barkley, principal at Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown, Md., waited several weeks after the arrest of the teacher, Jose Pineda, before she alerted parents.
According to the Washington Post, Pineda was arrested on Oct. 14 on charges of sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree sexual offense. The principal notified parents during the first week of November.
Barkley told parents she was so focused on the victim in the case that she did not focus on whether other students might have been affected until she reflected on another Maryland case that unfolded around the same time.
The principal of John T. Baker Middle School in Damascus came under fire in early November for failing to notify parents that a contract worker was arrested for allegedly touching a 12-year-old girl in the school hallway.
Many parents learned of the allegation through media reports and a letter from the school did not come until almost a month after the incident.
Montgomery Police say that the public attention surrounding the Baker case led to a second student coming forward with similar allegations.
Police said last week that a total of five to 10 students from area schools have come forward after recent school communications about the Pineda arrest.
Student safety must always be a school’s highest priority.
After contacting the police, school officials should immediately notify families of sexual abuse allegations and urge anyone who may have witnessed or been victimized by the perpetrator to come forward.
The best way to protect children is to expose predators and the institutions that protect them.